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Are Instructors of Online Science Methods Courses Liable for Nonfeasance?


by Brian Scott Fortney June 20, 2014

Online teacher education coursework provides many advantages; however, online coursework has limitations for certain courses, mainly pertaining to safe selection, use, and disposal of chemicals. For example, science methods and science methods-like courses that teach inquiry methods require the use of chemicals for middle and secondary certification levels. One limitation, the development of understanding of safe and ethical practice and disposal of chemicals during inquiry instruction crosses into the grey area of nonfeasance or misfeasance, if chemicals are omitted. Avoiding the use and discussion of safe and ethical practice for any reason, while lawful, is an inappropriate omission that may place a university and university instructors in legal risk. Further, K-12 schools that hire certified teachers fresh out of a certification program expect a certain level of understanding of professional standards which are consistent with state and national standards and guidelines. The question, How might instructors of online science methods courses implement safe and ethical practice using chemicals when many students connect asynchronously, or via videoconferencing software from remote locations, is a troubling question.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: June 20, 2014
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17577, Date Accessed: 7/29/2014 8:55:47 PM

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